Milk thistle seeds, Silybum marianum, are known as a supreme herbal tonic for the liver. It is traditionally used for supporting the liver and gallbladder as it increases the production of bile, and has hepatic, demulcent, choloagogue, antihepatoxic, and galactagogue actions. From David Winston, “It is indicated for cirrhosis of the liver as well as nephrotoxity, psoriasis and Hepatitis A, B, and C. It combines well with Burdock seed for dry, scaly skin conditions (87)”.
Silymarin was isolated by German researchers as the most important active ingredient of milk thistle seeds. Later on it was discovered that silymarin is actually a group of chemicals, flavanolignans, not just one single chemical constituent (Wikipedia). From Matthew Wood, “laboratory and clinical research has demonstrated that silymarin prevented the destruction of liver cells, increased the production of new liver cells, and increased the level of glutathione, an amino acid which helps to detoxify poisons and process hormones” (448).
Wood states that “milk thistle is an excellent liver and abdominal medicine in serious cases” (449), like death cap mushroom poising. It is not perhaps the first herb to reach for in everyday liver support like burdock, dandelion or yellow dock. But for those who are in need of more specific and stronger liver support in cases of liver complications or to conteract hepatotoxic pharmacueticals, David Hoffmann states that the theraputic dose from Commission E is 12 to 15 grams of the seeds or 200 to 400 miligrams per day of standardized silymarin.
Milk thistle condiment - This tasty and easy-to-make condiment is a wonderful way to get the liver rejuvenating effects of milk thistle in your daily diet. Sprinkle on eggs, rice dishes, soups and stews, practically any kinds of ethnic foods, and stir into mayo and mustard to eat on sandwiches and dips. I partically love it with seafood, like on Spanish paella.
• 1/2 cup milk thistle seeds
• 1 T ginger powder
• 1 T garlic powder
• 1 t paprika
• Grind seeds well in a coffee grinder. Mix with the other herbs, put in a shaker and use daily.